The new Regional Pest Management Plan for Otago was given the Otago Regional Council Common Seal yesterday, and ORC’s online Pest Hub is now live.
The Regional Pest Management Plan will have effect for the next 10 years, replacing the Pest Management Strategy from 2009. It sets out the roles and requirements of both the Otago Regional Council (ORC) and land occupiers around Otago to manage 51 pest species.
ORC has also launched the new Pest Hub section of its website, with information on every pest in the new plan, including what makes them a pest, how to identify them, and rules and advice for controlling them.
The Pest Hub will make it easier for the community to find and understand information on animal, plant and aquatic pests.
The Pest Plan received 360 submissions during public consultation, after which hearings were held in Dunedin and Queenstown this year. Public submissions were all considered by a hearing panel and amendments made to the plan to produce the final plan. No appeals were received after the plan was notified on 1 October.
ORC Councillor and Pest Plan Hearing Panel Chair Gretchen Robertson said she was pleased with the level of stakeholder and community consultation that went into the plan.
“We’ve had a really honest, transparent and smooth consultation process to finalise the plan, which I think is reflected by the fact there were no appeals once it was notified.
“A huge amount of work went into preparing the plan, considering submissions and making amendments to arrive at a plan that works for our community and protects our environment and biodiversity.
“It’s a comprehensive piece of work, and along with the Biosecurity Strategy, it sets us up really well for pest management over the next decade,” Cr Robertson said.
“I’m especially excited about the new site-led programmes and our collaboration with Predator Free Dunedin on that front.”
The new plan identifies more than twice as many pests as the previous plan, and each pest fits into one of five different management programmes. Among these is a new site-led programme for localised intervention in key areas.
The plan sets out site-led programmes for lagarosiphon in Lakes Wakatipu, Wānaka, Dunstan and the Kawarau River. There are also site-led programmes for a number of pests on the Otago Peninsula, Quarantine and Goat Islands and in the West Harbour – Mt. Cargill areas of Dunedin.
The Pest Plan institutes new ‘Good Neighbour Rules’, requiring all land occupiers, including the Crown, to match the control efforts of their neighbours within specific distances, so that their efforts are complementary.
These rules are in place for gorse, broom, Russell lupin, ragwort, nodding thistle, old man’s beard, rabbits and wilding conifers. The plan also sets simpler rules for rabbits and eliminates the requirement for management plans, meaning enforcement action can be initiated earlier.
The Pest Plan is supported by a new Biosecurity Strategy which outlines ORC’s broader role in biosecurity and a number of important actions and projects to better manage pests in Otago. Some of these actions include facilitating the establishment of landowner-led rabbit control groups, contributing to the development of the Predator Free Dunedin 2050 ‘whole of site’ management plans and supporting the Enviroschools programme.
The new Regional Pest Management Plan is available at www.orc.govt.nz/pestplan and the Biosecurity Strategy at www.orc.govt.nz/biosecuritystrategy
Visit the ORC Pest Hub at www.orc.govt.nz/pesthub